GLASGOW City Council will not be able to afford the costs for essential maintenance and repairs on the Clyde Tunnel unless a toll is introduced, a councillor has said.
Research carried out by the city’s Green councillors revealed that placing a toll on the tunnel would generate more than £3 million without having to charge Glasgow residents who already pay towards the transport link via council tax.
With £25m of repairs needed over the next ten years, and £950,000 a year needed for maintenance, Councillor Dr Martin Bartos said keeping the tunnel open would be extremely difficult to meet unless drivers are charged to use the river crossing.
The Partick West ward representative said: “The Clyde Tunnel is falling apart and it is of significant national importance – not just to Glasgow.
“It has one of the largest traffic flows in Scotland and now provides a vital link to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
“I’m not sure the council would be able to afford the repairs or even the annual costs without putting a toll system in place.”
Before this year’s council budget, Green councillors met to find a solution to stop Scotland’s busiest stretch of non-trunk road from crumbling.
Part of the group’s research found that a tolling system costing less than £2, which would exclude Glasgow registered vehicles and blue-light vehicles such as ambulances, could be introduced.
It was calculated that over £3 million could be raised without charging drivers in the city after it was revealed only 26 per cent of the tunnel’s traffic begin and end within the city boundaries.
The rest of the traffic flow either starts their journey from outwith the city and end it in the city or vice versa.
Cllr Bartos added: “We believe Glasgow should be treated fairly in terms of it being regarded as a trunk road connection.
“It should be paid for by the Scottish Government.
“Tolling is something we have considered in past as the council continually struggle to find money in its budget to fix the tunnel to keep it open long term.
“But we believe a scheme should be established which doesn’t affect Glasgow residents or hurt the function of hospital.
“We believe our findings show this is a viable option.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The council has looked at a wide range of options for funding the maintenance of the Clyde Tunnel, including introducing a toll.
“The toll option has never been supported by councillors.
“The council is still lobbying the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland to take over the maintenance of the tunnel.”